Make us your home page

Let's Talk

Connect with

You can help us improve discussion on



Last week, St. Petersburg Times writer Andrew Meacham wrote a moving epilogue after ugly comments were posted on a story about hit-run victim Neil Alan Smith. readers praised Meacham for writing about a man who had been a Crab Shack dishwasher for 10 years.

comment_user_32-rev.pngPrompting even more discussion from readers and from a number of bloggers was the topic of cruel comments posted anonymously.

"The fact of the matter is that people can't behave in a civil matter and resort to making horrendous comments they would never associate their name with," wrote StPetePilot in the story's comments.

Huffington Post blogger Jason Linkins linked to Meacham's piece, prompting nearly 400 comments.

"This is so depressing. What in the world is with some of these people who would be so cruel and hideous as to speak so ill of the dead?" wrote Donald on Linkins' blog post. "Is the cloak of anonimity inversely proportional to the level of their own bravery, that they can thereby be inspired to do the very things which would shame their own mothers and grandmothers without fear of embarassment?"'s commenting guidelines lay out our expectations for readers who comment. What are we seeking? We don't require our members to reveal their names, but we'd like readers to share their experiences and opinions as they would if they were face to face with the writer or other readers. Keep in mind who may be reading your comment, possibly a subject's family member or co-worker.

We welcome debate and discussion about issues and hot topics of the day. Anger and outrage are fine -- if that's what a story inspires -- but we ask that you use respectful language and refrain from personal attacks (against subjects of our stories or other members).

We don't moderate comments on our site, but we will delete comments that violate our guidelines when we come across them and we will deactivate accounts for those who violate our guidelines.  Here are a few ways that you can help us cut down on offensive comments and improve discussion on

  • Hit the Report Abuse tab when you see an offensive comment. It takes just 3 abuse reports from members for a comment to go away permanently.
  • Stay on topic when you post comments; stick to the issues.
  • Be polite and respectful of other people's ideas.
  • Give praise. If you like someone's thought, find it witty or insightful, give a thumbs up.
  • You can sort by highest-rated comments if you prefer to see comments that have gotten the most votes.

Got other suggestions? I welcome your ideas for improving discussion on here, or feel free to e-mail me: or tweet me: @karenmcallister.




[Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 1:39pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours